The enforced mid winter break has rejuvenated the squad and all the hard work out on the training ground is now starting to pay off. The Jags have been notoriously slow starters and with three of the starting seven ex Chase Athletic players they all knew what was at stake and seized the early initiative. Pre match expectation was the game would be won or lost in midfield and the early signs indicated this would be the case. Jags new midfield general Jack Griffiths was at the very heart of the battle destroying any attempt Chase had to get their passing game going. The home side used the width of their pitch well and dominated without creating too many chances until striker Josh Hill was clean through only to be pulled back by the referee, unfortunatley no advantage had been played after a Chase foul in the build up. The resulting free kick went close but had the Jags missed out on an early lead they deserved? Wyrley continued to press, Man of the Match Billy Hammond was a real threat creating openings down the left and a classy ‘slide rule’ pass picked out Hill again who put the Jags in front with a cool finish despite a despairing hand from the Chase keeper, a sweet moment for a player returning to the Wyrley fold after a season at Chase! More Jags possession continued as the lads grew in confidence but some solid defending by Chase saw them go into half time still in the game just one goal down.
Chase now had the slope as an advantage and Wyrley were always going to sit a little deeper and soak up more pressure having gone all out in the first 20 minutes. Chase have quality throughout and they did start the brighter pressing immediately from the kick off, but yet again some solid defending from the flourishing partnership of Josh Oakes and Euan Aston saw all of Chases’ endeavour come to nothing. The visitors continued with good possession but repeatedly came up against a side defending in numbers and breaking in waves as the half wore on. Wyrley’s greater squad count now came into it’s own and some changes to replace heavy legs was inevitable, Max Goodier continued the good work down the left, Griffiths continuing to get a tackle in and with Ollie Cooper covering every blade of grass down the right Chase became frustrated relying on corners and set pieces to get close to the Jags goal. Wyrley keeper Josh Price was as immaculate as ever between the ‘sticks’ handling beautifully keeping everyone’s nerves in check. With seconds to go the Jags countered again forcing the Chase keeper into another save pushing wide a Brandon Garrett shot, the resulting corner used up valuable time and ended any hope of Chase keeping their unbeaten season intact.
A fabulous effort from every squad member who were magnificently supported by parents, grandparents, uncles, aunties and friends in what was a record attendance for any of our games, it maybe a cliché but they really were Wyrley’s eighth player on the day!